Teacher Week Link Up: Five Fun Facts!

Excited to be linking up to Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week! Here are my Five Fun Facts!

I love, love, love running. I'm currently training for the NYC Marathon in November. I ran a 5K time trial as a part of my long run this weekend and I *think* I ran it in 22:55. Which is insane. I keep going to recalculate it in disbelief because my Nike app says my record is 24:10 (which makes no sense because I ran an official 5K in the last year in 23:21). So I'm going to go with trusting my calculations and not Nikes. Sorry Nike. Anyone have a better way of timing runs? ;) 

I teach in the same district where I went to school up through 8th grade. When I first started I remembered a lot of faces but as time passes, more people retire, and when I moved down to the younger grades, there was more of an even split between teachers I had/new teachers. I also love working about ten minutes from my house (sorry fellow teacher peeps but I just don't understand people who drive 40 minutes each way to get to work...how do you do it??).

I am completely accident prone and have no sense of balance. At all. Just don't ask me to ride a bike and we can stay friends. ;) I'm that person in my family who had many trips to the emergency room for silly, uncoordinated, unthinking accidents. Like cracking her head open on the gym bleachers. Or putting her foot through a glass animal cage. Or having her front tooth go through her front lip. You know, normal everyday accidents!

If I wasn't a teacher, I think I'd be a graphic designer or a professional ice cream tester. Or a historian who enjoys spending lots of time in archives learning crazy things about the past. Or a neuroscientist. Or an environmental lawyer. You know, one of those things.

 I love cherry lollipops but I HATE everything else cherry flavored, including cherries themselves! 


Five for Friday: First Week Done!

Let's have a CELEBRATION! Successfully completed the first week of school!

My district theme this year is "Dream Big" so I decided to blend teaching basic classroom routines with student dreams for the year. I first read Applemando's Dream by Patricia Polacco, then students went on A Web Whiteboard to draw and write about their own dream for the year (the two bottom boys wanted to walk through hot lava! Too funny/weird/cute/totally normal for second graders). The first and second graders tech skill was practicing typing, either labeling (first grade) or writing a sentence (second grade), and the kindergartners' was practicing using a mouse.
And here I am in action teaching! In the top picture, I'm asking the kiddos what's missing from my picture on AWW (hint: my arms and legs!) and in the second one we are practicing our noise levels by saying our names together at different levels (and yes, I am KNEELING in this picture! I don't think I realized how much BIGGER I am then my kiddos until I saw this picture!).

And I got to put my Learning Goals Chalkboard into action! Plus my chalk container is back! During the first and second grade lessons, we would read the goal together and talk about what that meant our work should look like when I was modeling. I didn't read the goal specifically with kindergartners, just verbally said it since I think the concept might be a little above their heads right now.  

But! Less you think my week was peach pie, I want to reassure you I have never eaten peach pie! All jokes aside, a couple parts of this week were TOUGH. Like others asking 'Hey! Where's your smile?' TOUGH. Some related to teaching, some school things having NOTHING to do with teaching (not sure if any of you out there would have any understanding of that;) ). I read this article on Blair Turner called "You Are Enough" Thursday night and I was kinda meh about it, but I think it just took time to sink in because today was a lot better! (And FYI, the above picture completely belongs to Blair).

Super excited to get to help coach middle school cross country again this year! Two days a week I get out a little earlier so I'll be heading next door to help out. I love that I get to work with both the little kiddos AND with middle schoolers.

On our second day of teacher PD this week we had a school EdCamp. I was a little apprehensive going into it for some reason but I ended up LOVING it! I went to a session relaxation techniques for students and came out of it with ideas for my Relaxation Station and my Calm Box. The Calm Box is still waiting for some essential ingredients so I don't have any pictures of it yet.
Then the Specials Team was able to meet to plan out Class Dojo. This year we are creating a packet for each student with all their codes in one place and a cover letter on top, this way hopefully minimizing the confusion and work for parents. Really hopeful even more parents will sign up this year. I want to use it this year, in addition to behavior management, to send out weekly updates to parents describing what the kiddos learned in class each week. Speaking of Class Dojo, here is the wall I made for it: 
I only put up how you can earn positive points this year, as I want that to be the focus.

Then I led a session for other teachers on how to upload pictures from your devices (cameras, phones, iPads) to Google Drive. This was something people were trying to figure out at the end of last year so I was excited to be able to show a group of teachers this skill.

SO EXCITED for this Accountable Talk Toolkit made by The Therapeutic Teacher! I first heard of Accountable Talk last year and really wanted to incorporate it into my classroom but wasn't sure how. This will be one of my starting points this year. It was a Flash Freebie when I got it but not sure if it still is. Definitely worth the money though if it isn't a freebie anymore. It guides you through the reasoning of accountable talk, how to implement it and how to create the cards. Totally awesomesauce.


Monday Made It: Cute Posters and Labels

First school day done! Well, first teacher day! But wowza my legs hurt as if I taught all day! Whew!

Wrapping up the day by linking up to Monday Made It with some more projects I've been doing. ...except then I went to 4th Grade Frolics and couldn't find the link-up :(
Decided to post anyways!
This past week I've been creating a lot of posters and labels using the the awesome fonts from Kimberly Geswein on TPT (Go get them! They are free and make everything look awesome!!).

I finally created my sharp v. dull pencil cups. I created the labels but couldn't find two matching containers. Then I found these cups at Stop and Shop in the party section for 89 cents! Look at the cute Crayola crayon print!! I bought 5 even though I just needed two because I loved them so much. (See how many pencils are in the dull cup? Can't lie, these are left overs from last year and I REALLY need to get sharpening tomorrow!!).

Inquiry cycle signs on the back wall of my classroom (which FYI is curved). Not really loving the top big sign right now plus it keeps falling off the wall. So I might redo that...but! For now, it's done! Going across in light blue are the inquiry steps: connect, wonder, investigate, create, share, reflect. Under each step are prompts to guide students in that step: so with connect I ask, What are you interested in? What caught my attention?
 Under investigate I've started to put up the different databases that we have available to use for research. I have to add the signs under create, share and reflect, but I ran out of teal quatrefoil and will get that done once more comes in. I plan to as each step is introduced to focus on the signs under each step so students see use them as a resource

Also created a sign to help guide  students while cleaning up. It's on a side wall now by the door...not 100% happy with this location but it'll have to do for now. Also about a day after making it I was thinking of how I could edit it. Oh well! It's done!

Clipboard container labels! Before they were boring white clipboard containers but I decided to create a label basically just for the cuteness factor. :)

Sign outside my classroom: Kind of stole this idea from another teacher (the best ones come from other teachers, am I right?). Some cute fonts, themed clip art, and quatrefoil background and voilà! (Funny story though: I had cut out the white clip art collage and had to cut off the boy Melonheadz hair to make it easier and figured I'd just draw it back on once it was glued on. Wellll, I laminated it, put it up, and realized he was...bald! Whoops! Never drew his hair back on! (See top left for evidence!). Thankfully I was able to draw it on with a sharpie. Phew!

And a FINAL BONUS SIX! Woo Hoo!!
Student work baskets. I had these mini drawers from a mini cabinet. Took off the front silver metal label (cutting my finger twice in the process - ouch!) and covered them in teal quatrefoil.
Definitely not a precise wrapping job but I figure most students won't be looking that close.

Then I created labels, two for each grade, with the time of the class on the side, which makes it easier to just switch out baskets in the three minutes between classes. This also helps cut out me physically collecting student work so I can focus on more important tasks...only concern I just thought of is having the students  remember to write their names! When they handed their work to me, I would quickly check for their name and hand it back if it was missing. Any ideas, fellow bloggers?

All my projects for this week! My last display I have to make are the Class Dojo points posters. Then next week I'll be linking up on September 2 for the final classroom reveal!


Five for Friday: Summary of all things Summery!

I haven't been linking up to Five for Friday's this summer at all. I gave myself a break from blogging in July then began linking up to Monday Made It. But I'm back! This will be a summary of summery things.

 I recently joined Oiselle Volèe! I love Oiselle and when they opened up spots in their Volèe group, my sister and I jumped on the opportunity. Besides coming with a $20 discount off any of their shorts, a super cute bag and a tank to wear during races to show your Oiselle love,  there is also a great running community on Facebook and Twitter. I love being a part of the group and can't wait to wear the tank during the NYC Marathon!

...which I've been training for the last six weeks! And you can it involves a lot of sweaty selfies, selfies with port-a-potties, beautiful views, and horrid hills (top right was from my VERY hilly long run last weekend - my sister showed up halfway through and helped me through the middle). I have an 18 mile run tomorrow and then ten more weeks of training before the big day! I'm a little nervous about fitting in the runs (about 45 miles a week, with one 54 mile week at the end of September!) while working but I did it last year and I'm going to do it this year! I will find a way!
 Because of marathon training I have been easily hitting my weekly goals for the 2015 miles in 2015 challenge. I can't believe I've completed almost 8 months of the challenge! I remember when I started, the January mileage alone seemed completely overwhelming!

I have become obsessed with ALL Kimberly Geswein Fonts freebie on TPT! I "bought" it a while ago but never actually downloaded and used it until this past week.It makes all my signs in my classroom look so much more AWESOME! There are over 200 fonts and I've only used a handful so far. If you haven't used her fonts, you should! It actually made me excited to design the 50 or so posters for my classroom (might be exaggerating that number a little but not by much!).


I didn't go away anywhere fancy this summer but I still had a lot of fun! I had a bucket list if fun/silly/random things to do including: running through sprinklers, tubing down a river, checking out a local consignment store, playing soccer, visiting the antique shop in town (where I marveled at $26,000 desks!!). Basically things that are hard to fit in during the school year but that I really like doing.

Monday starts the school year for me...ahh!!! Two teacher days and the first day of school is Wednesday. I feel prepared but also not ready at all!! Does anyone else feel this way??


Monday Made It: Classroom Projects Continued

Excited to be linking up to Monday Made It again this week to share more projects I've been working on for my classroom! This week I finished: learning goals chalkboard, binder covers, noise level chart, and I'll share how I'm incorporating quatrefoil print into my decorations.

I originally saw this chalkboard made out of an old window frame at a local consignment store and LOVED it.

 It was divided into six sections which was perfect since I have six classes each day. In each section, I could write the objective for that class and hang it on the wall for students to see when they come in. It would give them a focus for the day AND give me a focus for the day. 

The problem with the one in the consignment shop was it had real glass in it. As my sister helpfully pointed out, what if it falls and hurts a kid? A little morbid, but a reality check. 

I had plexiglass from the 20x20 frame and I was thinking I could use that instead (the store had some empty frames). Unfortunately their frame was a lot bigger. 

But now that I had the idea it wouldn't go away! All I needed was a simple frame, and some chalkboard paint and I was in business! I ended up buying the chalkboard paint at Amazon (my credit card has 5% back for all purchases on Amazon through September!) and buying a second frame, this one 20 x 24. I spray painted it glossy blue to match the stool and painted the plexiglass using a sponge brush.

I then seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing chalk on it vertically then horizontally and then wiped it off with a piece of cheese cloth (directions here

Seasoning the chalkboard makes sure your writing fully erases and doesn't leave a ghost of your words behind.

Painting the teal divider lines was probably the hardest part. I thought I had it figured out by creating paper guides but nope! I ended up painting over the teal lines to make them thicker and I was ready to just accept they weren't perfectly straight and even. Then I had the dawning realization that I could easily use painters tape! That way there would be no bleeding and the tape won't take off the paint. It still wasn't perfect but it was a lot better.

I created the labels for the chalkboard bright and early this morning. I apologize for the glare! You can read more about quatrefoil below.

Binder Covers/Poster
I'm grouping these two items together because they were done in a similar way. I created the Binder Covers on PowerPoint and the Noise Level Poster on Publisher (both are available on my TPT stores as editable freebies). 
I knew I wanted them colored so I sent them to the local copy shop where it only cost $8 for 9 sheets. 
The color coordinating binder covers will help keep me organized this year and I can continue by color coordinating further (for example, all first grade materials will have green folders, green labels, etc).
With the Noise Level Chart (size 12x18), I initially wanted some cute little pictures to guide the levels but I wasn't up to creating them and couldn't find a matching set of images to use, so I just went with a color scale. To finish this off I'll paint a clothespin teal. See below for the quatrefoil label I made.

Finally, quatrefoil, I got the idea for Quatrefoil print because it was mentioned in the comments of a Facebook post by Oh Boy Fourth Grade. I googled it, decided I liked it, tried to design my own (FAILED!) and then had the genius idea of just buying it pre-made (I know, DUH!).

This coincided with my idea of using wrapping paper as a backdrop color instead. 

I bought both at Zazzle, the teal here and the sky blue here.

So far, I've only done a few things with it:

Labels for the computers

Labels and sign for the chalkboard and a sign for the Noise Level chart.

I have plans to incorporate it into the big inquiry sign that will cover my back wall as well as in the labels for my teacher tool box (which I am still waiting to arrive!!) 

Those two things will hopefully be done in the next week and I'll post about them as well as do a final big reveal of my classroom as a whole. So excited to be getting closer to putting all these dreams I had in the beginning of the summer into a reality!! 


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